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Old 02-28-2023, 11:53 AM   #1
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Reattach awning to body

It's windy in Colorado. Our awning is coming apart from the main body of the camper.
The awning frame is separating from the coach near the front of the rig. At the very front of the awining, there is about a 1/2" gap between the awning frame and the sidewall of the rig. The separation extends about 4 to 5 feet, before the awning is snug up against the side of the rig.

I searched the forum and didn't find a discussion on the subject.

Our rig is an Jayco X213. Aluminum frame with fiberglass body panels. The attachments seem to be screws.

We have a ton of snow here, so I'm just preparing to do the fix. I'm looking for recommendations.

1. Our awning, a "Solera" by Lippert, has an LED light strip attached to the awning frame. This appears to be covering the screws that attach the awning frame to the camper body. How does one remove the light strip? Is it just a press-in thing? Do I need a heat gun to soften it up before I try to remove it? Should I have some adhesive on hand to secure the light strip when I go to replace it?

2. While I can remove screws, inject some fiberglass "bondo" in the holes, and replace the screws, I'm thinking I should install through-bolts through the awning frame, through the wall and add fender washers and nylock nuts at each end of the awning frame...front and rear. Two stainless steel bolts.
Screws seem fine in the middle, but given that all the leverage on the awning frame is at the ends, bolts seem to be a better option.
Has anyone tried this? Is the awning low enough on the sidewall that the bolts will enter the cabin rather than the roof cavity?

3. As for the fiberglass "bondo" I mentioned, what is the best choice? There are screws mid-span that have pulled out, and simply tightening them won't be enough. Perhaps something I can put on the screw threads to bond the screw to the fiberglass?

4. We are all familiar with a stud finder. Will a stud finder locate the aluminum framing in the walls? I have no confidence that the screws went through the fiberglass into aluminum structure. I'd feel better if I could add a few screws into the aluminum framing.
If a stud finder won't work, is there a tool that will locate the framing in the walls?

Again...just laying the groundwork to do the repair.

Any advice will be deeply appreciated.
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Old 03-10-2023, 12:40 PM   #2
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Bumping this in hopes of getting responses.
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Old 03-11-2023, 06:00 PM   #3
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Try to find the Jayco diagram the brags about the roof truss construction. Hopefully it will show the top horizontal supports as well. You might have something there about the bondo. That is some tough stuff if it is the polyester type. The biggest issue is that the aluminum tubing is hollow!!! Bigger diam screws might be better.
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Old 03-12-2023, 02:26 PM   #4
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Thanks.
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Old 06-28-2023, 01:41 PM   #5
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Hi jimmoore,

Any luck on your project? I just noticed my X213 doing the exact same thing.
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Old 06-28-2023, 10:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cwalker022 View Post
Hi jimmoore,

Any luck on your project? I just noticed my X213 doing the exact same thing.
Sorry for not posting a resolution. This forum no longer works properly on my computer. Anyway...

Yes and no:
  • The awning does not attach to roof rafter structure. It attaches only to the fiberglass wall.
  • Lots of screws thru the awing frame into the fiberglass.
  • A thin plastic cover hides the screw heads, but you can easily remove and replace the plastic cover from the channel it's in.
  • Remove the screws; add some fiberglass repair goop into the holes; replace the screws. You could also upsize the screws.
  • Drill holes and add more screws.
  • Replace the plastic cover.
  • Add some caulk on top of the frame where it attaches to the fiberglass to prevent water penetration between the awning frame and fiberglass sidewall.

Needless to say, I'm not impressed, but the repair was easy. In addition to resetting the original screws into the "gooped" holes (after the goop dried), I added 6 more screws. Mine were 2 inches long, and they hit NOTHING other than the fiberglass skin.
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Old 06-29-2023, 05:52 AM   #7
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I did the same repair on one of my slide out awnings. The first 2 screws were working loose. Caulk and a few more screws after filling the holes with some filler. caulk and replace the rubber gasket.

Mine was a fifth wheel so I have no idea where it went but I used the same length screws that were already in there .
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Old 06-29-2023, 09:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by norty1 View Post
I did the same repair on one of my slide out awnings. The first 2 screws were working loose. Caulk and a few more screws after filling the holes with some filler. caulk and replace the rubber gasket.

Mine was a fifth wheel so I have no idea where it went but I used the same length screws that were already in there .
It surprises me that something that appears to require attachment to structure would attach only to the skin of the rig. To be fair, there are lots of screws, but they aren't attached to much.

Given the effects of wind on the main awning, there's LOTS of tugging at that awning fabric, and it is relentless, persistent tugging...the kind of thing that can shake your fillings loose. I'm not talking about the kind of heavy wind that causes billowing and awning frame movement...just light to medium wind fluttering of the fabric.

I was really expecting long screws going into the roof rafter structure or the aluminum frame structure. No such luck.

Anyway, it's fixed, and will need to be fixed again...and again.
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Old 06-29-2023, 03:19 PM   #9
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Thank you both. I’ll be swinging by the hardware store today.
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